New York based Niche Health/Beauty PR Firm -- Robin Leedy & Associates -- Launches New Social Media Division Chatter RL&A

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New "Chatter RL&A" Social Media Division Talks to Target Consumers Directly, Increasing Menu of Services Provided by Boutique, New York-Based Public Relations Agency Specializing in National Consumer Brands

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However, what good is a client's blog or forum if no one knows about it? Our job is to help create client message content and make sure people know about it via a Web strategy and outreach.

Robin Leedy & Associates, a 21-year-old, award-winning public relations (PR) agency specializing in over-the-counter (OTC) health and beauty products, as well as lifestyle PR, today announces its new social media division, Chatter RL&A

"As a supplement to traditional media outreach, Chatter RL&A now allows existing and new clients to bring their key messages directly to the consumer without the editorial filter that traditional media has in place," says Robin Russo, president and founder.

According to USA Today, more than one-third of internet users either read a blog or used a social networking site on a monthly basis. Additionally, health information is one of the top reasons that millions of people are searching the Internet.

"People with chronic health issues are among those regularly using the Internet, particularly blogs and message boards, in search of treatment options and a 'community' where they can interact with others with the same condition," says Russo. "In today's Internet-driven society, any comprehensive public relations campaign has to take social media into account, or it risks losing out on tremendous target audience potential."

Toward that end, Robin Leedy & Associates has hired John Whitcomb to coordinate the social media tactics that Chatter RL&A will undertake. Whitcomb brings his experience in viral marketing and Internet technology to this new effort to help integrate the social media element into clients' new and existing communication strategies.

"The online world is constantly evolving, where conversations change daily and individuals, who were once obscure, are turned into instant 'ceWebrities' with just a click of a mouse or an upload of a video," says Whitcomb. "While traditional media used to be the only voice to the masses, now, a company's voice, driven by the Internet and its various functions, can be just as powerful -- if not more so."

Whitcomb offers examples:
-A popular video that spreads like wildfire via YouTube
-A key blogger who can affect the outcome of a political race
-Online news feeds that reach core bloggers
-Simple message boards that can make (or break) a product in just a few consumer reviews

"Think of it as word of mouth...on steroids," he adds.

Russo says that social media -- or Web 2.0, as the marketing industry is calling it -- is one of the more radical changes the PR industry has had to face in the more than two decades she has been practicing in the field. "Instead of relying on the media to filter messages within the context of magazine articles or TV segments, social media allows our clients to publish their content, the way they want it, with messages intact," she adds. "However, what good is a client's blog or forum if no one knows about it? Our job is to help create client message content and make sure people know about it via a Web strategy and outreach."

And who better to drive the messaging and strategy of social media than the PR firms that have mastered the use of traditional media relations to successfully reach a core target. "For years, PR executives have been crafting messages that are palatable to both the end user (consumer) and the medium in which they were communicated. One way of looking at PR is as a stealth approach to brand messaging that includes a credible third-party endorsement in the form of news articles, broadcast segments, and the like," explains Russo. "Social media requires this same approach because messages that are too 'in your face,' such as many of those in advertising, will lose ground in the social media platform." While bloggers are the new journalists in the social media environment, they still need to be convinced, she adds.

"Using the latest technologies and channels available, Chatter RL&A is set up to help RL&A clients navigate the maze that is the Internet and design customized, strategic campaigns to achieve marketing goals and objectives by producing strong return on investment. Added to traditional public relations tactics, social media programs will make PR even more cost effective than it already is within the whole marketing mix," says Russo.

The Chatter RL&A division will include services, such as blog creation, management, posting and seeding of blogs, RSS feeds, viral marketing, social networking sites, such as Facebook and MySpace, and viral video/graphics, as well as many other tactics that are continually evolving and helping to shape the way businesses and brands communicate via the Internet.

In conjunction with the launch of the new social media division, Robin Leedy & Associates is also launching its own blog Robin Leedy & Associates Blog that features agency news and highlights of campaigns, as well as what is happening in the PR industry as a whole.

For more information on how to incorporate social media into your brand strategy, contact Robin Russo or John Whitcomb at (914) 241-0086.

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